Commentary Magazine


Bad News, Again

Another dollop of bad news on the economy:

Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly increased last week to the highest level since November, showing companies are stepping up the pace of firings as the economy slows.

Initial jobless claims rose by 12,000 to 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Claims exceeded all estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and compared with the median forecast of 478,000. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance fell, while those getting extended benefits increased.

The summer of recovery, as the Obami refer to it, isn’t. And the Democrats who keep telling us everything is getting better seem more and more isolated from reality. Rather than a double dip (I don’t recall any steep upward trajectory or job growth), we seem to be tumbling steadily downward:

While companies have boosted payrolls seven straight months, firings have remained elevated as the economic recovery shows signs of slowing. Private firms added 71,000 jobs in July, fewer than economists had forecast, according to government figures released Aug. 6. Unemployment held at 9.5 percent, near a 26-year high of 10.1 percent. More than a year after the economy began expanding following the worst recession since the 1930s, employers are slow to hire. That’s limiting consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

Obama said we should judge him on the economy. Fair enough. He won’t be getting a B+.